Landscaping Employee Injuries in North Carolina
Most landscape workers are employees, but some are independent contractors who work for themselves and provide services to private clients. Generally, landscape workers do their work in all types of weather, including extreme heat and cold. Many use tools and machinery in their jobs. The work can be very physical and labor-intensive.
Unfortunately, landscape workers have lots of opportunities to hurt themselves on the job. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that around 200 landscape service workers die each year as a result of workplace injuries.
If you or a loved one was injured while performing landscape work, it is crucial to understand that benefits programs and legal options are available. North Carolina law aims to ensure that workers are protected in the event of a workplace accident or injury.
The legal protections provided to you under the law can allow you to get the help you need if you get hurt. Unfortunately, obtaining compensation for an injury can be a complex process – one that you may be unable to take on when you are injured and trying to focus on getting better.
At Hardison & Cochran, our lawyers understand how stressful it is to worry about your legal rights and financial obligations when you are hurt. Our goal is to make sure you never have to worry. We can represent you and fight for your right to receive maximum benefits so you can take care of yourself and your family after a workplace injury.
To learn more, call us today at (800) 434-8399 or use our online form. We’ll respond within 24 hours and arrange a free consultation about your case.
Landscaping Industry Risks
There are many causes of injuries and fatalities in the landscaping industry. The CDC has divided the leading causes into different categories that include:
- Transportation-related injuries – Landscape workers often need to travel to different locations. Transportation-related injuries can occur when transporting tools and machinery or when traveling to different work areas and work sites. Tractors or mowers can roll over onto workers. Jackknife accidents and other incidents in landscape trucks are also common.
- Contact with objects or equipment – These injuries can occur when landscape workers are struck by, struck against, caught in or compressed by objects or equipment. A worker could suffer a contact-related injury while using machinery to clear areas, sawing, trimming trees and bushes, mowing or digging. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that about 60 percent of contact-related landscape worker deaths result from workers being hit by falling objects such as logs, trees or branches.
- Workplace falls – Falls occur when workers tumble out of trees, fall off ladders or fall into holes. A cut or broken safety line, a tree branch breaking and a tree falling are some of the common causes of workplace falls identified by the BLS. Falls can also occur on the same level when a worker stumbles or trips.
- Exposure to temperature extremes, dangerous substances or electrical current – The BLS reports that around 20 percent of deaths among landscape workers are caused by exposure to harmful substances. Being electrocuted is common when workers are digging or working with machinery and tools or when workers come into contact with overhead power lines. Inclement weather can also cause problems, including fatalities related to heatstroke.
The BLS reports that the vast majority of non-fatal injuries among landscape workers are caused by overexertion or excess stress on the body. Lifting, digging, twisting, turning and carrying are all actions that landscape workers do frequently. These actions can cause overexertion injuries to develop. Unfortunately, even a non-fatal injury can result in pain and permanent, ongoing impairment depending upon how badly you were hurt.
Your Options After a Landscaping Injury
When you experience an injury on the job, it is natural to be worried about how to cover your medical bills and costs. If you cannot work or have suffered a permanent impairment, you may also be worried about your future and how you will support yourself and your family. If you have lost a loved one due to a landscape accident, you will have all of these worries plus the grief of coping with the death of a family member.
While there is no way to ever compensate you for the pain or loss that a landscape workplace injury causes, there are several different ways that you can obtain monetary compensation and benefits after you get hurt on-the-job in North Carolina.
Your options for recovering monetary damages include:
- Making a workers’ compensation claim – If you are an employee as opposed to working as an independent contractor, then you may be eligible to make a workers’ compensation claim for your landscape injuries. No matter where you were when you were injured, you can make a workers’ compensation claim if your work was a direct cause of the injury. You also don’t have to show that your employer was careless or did anything wrong that contributed to your injury in order to make a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation benefits are intended to make sure that medical bills are covered and that a permanent impairment doesn’t cause financial ruin. You are entitled to have all of your bills paid in full, and you are entitled to disability/wage loss benefits if you have to take time off or if you are unable to return to your job. Both temporary and permanent benefits are available if you are either totally or partially disabled. Partial disability benefits are intended to make up for a reduction in income if your injuries or impairments force you to switch to a lower-paying job or lighter-duty work. Total disability benefits, on the other hand, provide income if work is impossible. Workers’ compensation death benefits take care of family members left behind.
- Suing a third party for personal injury – The North Carolina workers’ compensation laws make it impossible for you to sue your employer for a workplace injury. However, if there is a third party or non-employer responsible for causing you harm, then you can file a personal injury claim. You will need to prove that someone did something negligent, careless or wrong in some way that injured you. You also will need to either negotiate a settlement or prove your third-party injury claim in court. However, these types of claims can be worthwhile, despite their challenges. This is because you can obtain broader compensation than with a workers’ compensation claim, including payment for pain and suffering or emotional distress resulting from your injuries. An experienced North Carolina landscaping employee injury lawyer can assist you in determining whether you have a third-party claim and can help you prove your case. Examples of third-party cases, for example, might include taking action against a property owner with a dangerous hazard on his property or suing the manufacturer of landscaping equipment that malfunctioned.
Our Attorneys Help Injured Landscape Workers
At Hardison & Cochran, our work injury attorneys have represented many clients in the landscaping industry who were hurt on the job. Our experienced, caring legal team knows what you are going through, and we understand how important it is for you to get full compensation so that you will have financial security despite your work injury.
Let us put our legal knowledge and experience to work to for you. We’ll treat your case with the importance it deserves and fight for you every step of the way to maximize your benefits. Give us a call at (800) 434-8399 or take a moment to submit our online form to schedule your free case review.
- Fatal Injuries among Landscape Services Workers, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Occupational Injuries among Groundskeepers, Bureau of Labor Statistics